Flood damage in east may cost tens of millions of euro


DAMAGE COSTING tens of millions of euro is likely to have been caused by flash flooding in Dublin and on parts of the east coast on Monday night.

The capital was deluged with some of the heaviest rainfall on record for a single day, with Casement Aerodrome recording almost an inch of rain in an hour.

The insurance industry has paid out €765 million for extreme weather events in the last three years and further damage is likely to lead to a hike in premiums.

Irish Insurance Federation chief executive Michael Kemp said the cost was likely to be “considerable” because most of the flooding had occurred in densely populated areas in and around the capital.

He said it was not possible to put a figure on the cost at this stage, as much of the damage appeared to be linked to excess rainwater rather than over-running waterways, which was the cause of most damage in previous flooding incidents.

The cost to homeowners and businesses of last winter’s extreme weather was €224 million.

Dublin City Council defended its handling of the floods. City engineer Michael Phillips said the extent and intensity of the rainfall was unprecedented, and the council had done all it could on the night.

He had activated the emergency response plan as soon as it was necessary, he added.

Dublin Fire Brigade reported receiving in excess of 1,000 calls from householders. The worst affected areas were Harold’s Cross, Dundrum, Donnybrook and Irishtown.

Local residents said the fire brigade had to be called to open a sluice gate along the river Dodder near Lansdowne Road because the key could not be found to open it. Speaking on RTÉ One’s News at One yesterday, Ringsend resident Tom Anderson said they also had to force open containers containing sandbags because they could not find the key.

Mr Phillips promised an investigation.

Public and private transport in Dublin was still affected yesterday even as the floods subsided.

The northbound Wolfe Tone Quay was damaged by the flooding and is down to one lane.

Merrion Road around St Vincent’s hospital still had surface water on it last night and there were still problems on the Con Colbert Road out of Dublin.

Commuters continued to be affected yesterday by disruptions, with Green Line Luas services cancelled until this morning. All northern commuter train services and northbound Dart services were cancelled for a time in the evening.

There was no mains power in the Courts of Criminal Justice in Parkgate Street due to the flooding. Meanwhile, Eircom has deployed extra staff to help repair crews restore services across the country.

The storm also created major difficulties for farmers, especially in Leinster, as tens of thousands of acres of land became flooded, necessitating the movement of stock to drier ground.

Sheep farmers in Co Wicklow are as yet unsure whether they face losses in their mountain flocks, but losses are expected.

John Beirne, from the Donard area of the county, said in his 35 years of farming he had never witnessed a rain storm like this one. He expected some of his ewes would have been swept away by swollen rivers.

All over Leinster farmers were moving to house animals as land became flooded or too soggy to support grazing.

A spokeswoman for the Irish Farmers’ Association said the hardest hit areas had been southeast Kildare and west Wicklow, where rivers broke their banks and flooded farmland.

“We have been getting reports of animal losses, mainly on sheep farms, but it will be some time before we will be able to put exact figures on sheep losses,” she said.